Wayne Rooney's three-match ban that will see the striker miss all of England's Euro 2012 group games has been labelled "a huge blow" to the team by ex-striker Alan Shearer.
England boss Fabio Capello's worst fears were realised last night when UEFA handed Rooney the ban for his red card after kicking Montenegro's Miodrag Dzudovoic last Friday.
The kick was judged "an assault" by UEFA's control and disciplinary panel, who stuck to the letter of the law in handing out the punishment despite a plea for leniency from the English Football Association.
Shearer said: "It's a huge blow. It's not only a huge blow to the team, to the fans and to football followers but to Wayne himself because he realises he's made a stupid error.
"I still think whoever replaces him in the team, England still should have enough to get through the three games without him."
The ban means Capello now has to judge whether to take Rooney as part of his squad to Poland and Ukraine, and hope that he can make an impact if England make it through to the quarter-finals.
The English FA will wait for the full reasons behind the decision before deciding whether to appeal.
The Manchester United striker is understood to be extremely disappointed in the outcome but will follow the English FA's advice about any appeal.
Phil Neville, Rooney's former team-mate for United and England, labelled the ruling "a joke".
The Everton midfielder said on Twitter: "Rooney banned for 3 games what a joke - if it was a Dutch, Spanish, Italian, German player they wouldn't even get 1 game - fact."
Rooney was shown a straight red by German referee Wolfgang Stark for kicking Dzudovoic - England boss Capello admitted it was a "silly mistake" by the 25-year-old. The English FA now has three days to decide whether to appeal.